I tried out Vista 64 for the first time recently. I setup a new PC for a customer wanting to run Adobe illustrator & photoshop CS4.
So without going over-the-top, I got aPC with an intel DP45SG motherboard, a 3Ghz Core 2 duo, 8GB DDR3 RAM, and an ATI 4670.
The installation went smoothly, as did installing AntiVIR, Adobe reader, Java
Java was interesting, as the website suggested I install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions, because I was using a 32-bit browser on a 64-bit OS…
Sure enough, task manager shows all 32-bit processes with a “*32” at the end of the name… including ie7
I have a bit of a hunt around, and I see both ie7-32 and ie7-64 are installed… although ie7-32 is the default (apparently because many websites are not activex-64-aware… yet).
Other than that, the biggest surprise, is the RAM usage. Once started (with no other apps running, except for antivirus), task manager shows Vista-64 using anywhere between 1GB and 1.5GB… whereas I usually see vista 32 using 600 – 800Mb .
I’d heard that many 64-bit OSes can use up to twice the ram of the equivalent 32-bit OS, but I was still surprised.
Even so, that still leaves “only” 6.5Gb RAM for applications, which should make adobes CS4 apps really fly.
Hardware drivers are still the biggest issue with Vista 64. Luckily I didn’t need to install too many external devices… So my biggest problem was with a USB wireless adapter. Out of 4 cheap ebay adapters, only 1 actually had correct drivers (both on the CD and automatically downloaded from the net).
The customers printer installed flawlessly from the internet… I was pleasantly surprised.
So how is it? Its quick. I’m not equipped to do extensive benchmarks, but I didn’t notice any of the typical Vista delays when doing things like opening the control panel. The Vista “experience index” was 5.7 (based on the lowest score from the CPU).
So I can see that 64-bit is the way of the future… but only once 64-bit hardware drivers become commonplace.